A 27-year-old Air Force senior airman's shock at getting a rebuke for speaking Spanish in uniform in a Starbucks near Hickam and her subsequent stand against discrimination have gained some fervent support on social media.
Xiara Mercado posted July 17 that while waiting for her drink during lunchtime at the Valkenburgh Street coffee shop, she was on the phone speaking Spanish.
Once her name was called, she ended the call and grabbed her drink. As she was walking out, she said, she was tapped on the shoulder by a woman who said, "You shouldn't be speaking Spanish. That's not what that uniform represents. … It's distasteful," Mercado related on Facebook.
A teen who fatally stabbed a Kaneohe Bay Marine during an attack by 15 youths in the early morning hours of Oct. 21, 2017, in Waikiki pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter Friday and will serve no more than 20 years in prison.
The Pearl Harbor-based USS Preble will be the first destroyer to be equipped with a high-energy laser to counter surface craft and unmanned aerial systems, according to a published report, with the Navy planning to one day use the powerful light beams to defend against Chinese or Russian cruise missiles.
Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, the Navy's director of surface warfare, told Defense News that the Preble will be outfitted in 2021 with the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical- dazzler With Surveillance system, or HELIOS.
"We are making the decision to put the laser on our (destroyers)," Boxall said. "It's going to start with Preble in 2021, and when we do that, that will now be her close-in weapon that we now continue to upgrade," according to Defense News.
A smaller Air Force with aging aircraft plans to fly its KC-135 refueling tankers — eight of which are operated by the Hawaii Air National Guard at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam — for another 30 to 40 years.
It’s extra noteworthy that Everett Hyland, a Dec. 7, 1941, attack survivor who was on the USS Pennsylvania, will return the salute of a passing Navy warship at Friday’s anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.